How Internet Privacy Can Impact Small Businesses Financially

Internet Privacy

Internet privacy policy requirements have been a hot topic in the media. Many wonder how this could affect their social media privacy, but may not have thought about how these changes could affect them financially. Small business owners should be especially mindful of these changes, because they are not only trying to protect their own financial security, but also the financial security of their customers.

Reading tedious online security requirements may not always be convenient, but it can have significant payoffs to ensure small business success and customer loyalty.

Here are three ways small business owners can stay technologically savvy, safe and secure.

Payment Apps

Many small businesses have ditched standard cash registers and are now using payment applications to complete customer transactions. Although this millennial method of payment is new age, small businesses need to ensure this process is also secure. Hundreds of credit card and debit card point-of-sale (POS) payments are made daily at retail locations. With these transactions comes the business’s responsibility to customers to make sure their banking information is housed on a secure platform and protected from bad actors.

When choosing a payment processing application for your small business, make sure it is a certified application that is working to protect both you and your customers’ finances. It should monitor transactions, have a fraud prevention program and adhere to changing privacy requirements as necessary.

Wi-Fi Services

Offering free Wi-Fi services at a small business establishment has become the industry standard. Customers are accustomed to having a streamlined connection when shopping. With so many devices connected to a small business server, it is important to guard against potential software vulnerabilities. These hacks can expose your business and customer financial information. The surest way to keep your business and customers’ privacy protected is to make sure the appliance that is providing free Wi-Fi has the latest firmware and security patches installed, as well as confirm that the appliance is properly configured to use the strongest encryption scheme available. (NOTE: This will likely be WPA-PSK2 AES although a new standard, WPA-PSK3, was announced in January of this year.)

Online Transactions

Small business owners and customers alike are learning to be more mindful when shopping online. Having a third-party payment method, such as PayPal, can ensure both buyer and seller protection when transactions are made. This protection helps prevent the business and customer from having their financial information compromised, and allows for safe financial transactions to take place locally and globally.

As technology becomes more sophisticated, it will be vital to continue learning about and adapting to the evolving updates. Make it a priority for your small business to stay compliant and aware of changing privacy requirements to ensure your finances and those of your customers are secure.

Thom Holcomb is an Infrastructure Administrator for Information Technology at Paragon Bank.